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Eight Danger Zones

Eight teens a day are killed in car crashes.  Make sure your young driver is aware of the leading causes of teen crashes, and put rules in place to help your teen stay safe. 

#1 Driver inexperience.

Son reversing car with father giving advice

Crash risk is highest in the first year a teen has their license.

What Parents Can Do

  • Provide at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least six months.
  • Make sure to practice on a variety of roads, at different times of day, and in varied weather and traffic conditions. This will help your teen gain the skills he or she needs to be safe.
  • Help your teen avoid insufficient scanning. Stress the importance of continually scanning for potential hazards including other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

#2 Driving with teen passengers.

Teen boy and girl with a car

Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car.

What Parents Can Do

  • Follow your state’s teen driving law for passenger restrictions. If your state doesn’t have such a rule, limit the number of teen passengers your child can have to zero or one.
  • Keep this rule for at least the first six months.

Learn more about Graduated Driver Licensing

#3 Nighttime driving.

Photo of the highway at sunset

For all ages, fatal crashes are more likely to occur at night; but the risk is highest for teens.

What Parents Can Do

  • Make sure your teen is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. for at least the first six months of licensed driving.

#4 Not using seat belts.

Photo of a man buckling his seatbelt

The simplest way to prevent car crash deaths is to buckle up. 

What Parents Can Do

  • Require your teen to wear a seat belt on every trip. This simple step can reduce your teen’s risk of dying or being badly injured in a crash by about half. 

Learn more about Seat Belt Safety

#5 Distracted driving.

Photo of a cell phone sitting next to the driver

Distractions increase your teen’s risk of being in a crash.

What Parents Can Do

  • Don’t allow activities that may take your teen’s attention away from driving, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, or playing with the radio.

Learn more about Distracted Driving

#6 Drowsy driving.

Photo of the highway at night

Young drivers are at highest risk for drowsy driving, which causes thousands of crashes every year. Teens are most tired and at risk when driving in the early morning or late at night.

What Parents Can Do

  • Be sure your teen is fully rested before he or she gets behind the wheel.

#7 Reckless driving.

Photo of a speed limit sign

Research shows that teens lack the experience, judgment, and maturity to assess risky situations.

What Parents Can Do

  • Help your teen avoid the following unsafe behaviors:
    • Speeding
      Make sure your teen knows to follow the speed limit and adjust speed to road conditions.
    • Tailgating
      Remind your teen to maintain enough space behind the vehicle ahead to avoid a crash in case of a sudden stop.

#8 Impaired driving.

Photo of man with drink handing someone else his keys

Even one drink will impair your teen’s driving ability and increase the risk of a crash.

What Parents Can Do

  • Be a good role model: don’t drink and drive, and reinforce this message with your teen.

Learn More about Impaired Driving

Read the CDC Vital Signs: Teen Drinking & Driving, A Dangerous Mix

What Else Can Parents Do?

Educate Yourself

You can make a difference by getting involved with your teen’s driving.

Learn More about What Parents Can Do

Learn More about Teen Driver Safety

Create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

Reinforce your talks by working with your teen to create a parent-teen driving agreement.

Learn More and Download the Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

Spread the Word

Help educate and empower other parents by sharing this information on Facebook and Twitter.

Spread the Word in Your Community

Spread the Word Online

Download or Order Free Copies

1 in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives.
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
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  • Contact CDC–INFO
Parents Are The Key The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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